Back to Cyprus”
even oenogastronomic attractions.
However, as with fellow board members Costas Koumis and Xenia Loizidou, the Chairman was confident the sector will recover and will not feel the impact so much from the demise of the rouble and the Russian economy.
Acknowleding that the Russian market had recently risen to command a 25% market share of all arrivals, Koumis said that Russian holidaymakers to the rest of Europe had fallen by 50% due to the crisis in Ukraine and the economy, but also due to the collapse of smaller tour operators.
“But in the case of Cyprus, this fall has been overturned and we have a 4.5% increase (to 640,000) from 2013 figures.”
Loizou also spoke of a new CTO, a new effective organisation which will become more modern and flexible by reducing bureaucracy, simplification of procedures, modernisation of the legislative framework, exemplary cooperation between board and staff, and implementing of good governance.
He stressed that there will be “transparent, impartial and full legitimacy procedures and full independence.”
The new CTO, he said, will have excellent cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance, the Auditor General and the Treasury for the procedures to be followed. Decisions on contracts will be taken by the Tenders Committee and the Internal Audit Service.
“We are closely monitoring the rouble because that is what will probably determine the outcome, which seems to have stabilised. The messages we are receiving is that there will be some reductions from tour operators, but this seems to be at a level that we can handle”, he said.
The gaps from the reduction numbers from the Russian market will be be replaced from the U.K., Israel, Germany, Poland, France, the Czech Republic, central Europe, Scandinavia and Arab countries.
Referring to the German market, Loizou said he was confident that with the adition of flights operated by Germania and Germanwings, the numbers will be good.
There is also interest from France, he added, due to events in countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, with the French looking to Cyprus as a safe destination.
The most encouraging, he said, is that although Cyprus depended on some countries, this is changing and other countries are put on the spotlight such as Israel, Poland and the Arab countries.
Based on the results of the Passengers Survey, arrivals in February totalled 50,709, compared with 45,227 in February 2014, while January 2015 was also up 2.7%, yearon-year.
Tourist arrivals have been on an upward trend since last December after a drop in September, October and November, suggesting that there is a huge market for winter tourism.